England doubles down at the Home Internationals
05 Aug 2022
by England Golf
Photo courtesy of England Golf
England’s joint men’s and women’s team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on a dramatic final day in the Home Internationals at Ballyliffin.
A final score of 11-10 in favor of England allowed the 16-strong combined squad to pip the hosts to the inaugural R&A Trophy following earlier wins against Wales and Scotland.
In the fight for the historic Men’s Home International title, England also edged out Ireland to win the Raymond Trophy.
England was only denied a hat-trick of wins on countback – Ireland’s women pipping their rivals on game points after today’s match within a match ended in a 4.5-4.5 draw.
All three trophies were decided right at the death on a dramatic day of golf in County Donegal.
Incredibly, six of the 14 singles games went down to the final hole to highlight the fine margins between winning and losing at this level.
England Golf’s performance director, Nigel Edwards, said: “There were some exceptional performances today and the players can be proud of their efforts. At one point, it didn’t look as if it would be our day against a strong Ireland side. But the players dug deep and were able to grind out vital points and half points when it mattered most.
“I’m delighted with the effort from a joint squad that featured some new faces as well as players still eligible for junior golf who stepped up to the plate. To win the inaugural joint event is something that goes down in the record books and can never be taken away from this group of players.
“They will only grow in stature as a result of challenges they have faced and overcome in the last three days.”
Ireland carried a 4-3 lead from the morning foursomes into the afternoon singles.
The opening three points were gathered by the pairings of Sam Bairstow and Arron Edwards-Hill, Rachel Gourley and Lottie Woad, and Lucy Jamieson and Hannah Screen.
However, Ireland rallied to deny England any more joy in the four games left on the course.
That left England needing eight points from the 14 singles to win the new R&A Trophy and to stand a chance of success in the historic men’s and women’s individual events.
Midway through the afternoon singles, it appeared as if the hosts would be celebrating.
With most of the games on the back nine, the score predictor had Ireland 12-9 ahead.
Arron Edwards-Hill brought home half a point from the opening game against Peter O’Keefe.
Sam Bairstow then fought back from one down playing the last to earn a half with Mark Power.
Lottie Woad then sealed a crucial win on the 18th hole of her match with Kate Lanigan and John Gough also fought back to earn half a point against Liam Nolan.
Hannah Screen’s valuable win on the 17th hole appeared straightforward by comparison to other games on the course!
Olly Huggins took his point on the final green – a fine swansong to his England amateur career. And Josh Berry showed great maturity to beat the experienced Hugh Foley by a 2&1 margin.
Harley Smith and Jack Bigham added two more points while the decisive moment came in the match involving Rachel Gourley. The half point gained in the match with Sara Byrne ensured England got over the line by the smallest of margins.